December Commencement Ceremony Returns

Sunday, December 13, 2020
Students at the 2019 Commencement ceremony

On Saturday, the Rockhurst University community celebrated those students who completed their coursework in December. It not only marked the return of an older tradition, as the last time the University hosted a December commencement was in 2005. But it did so in a very 2020 way — virtually.

Approximately 200 students were eligible for degrees at the first of what is expected to become an ongoing tradition for those students who complete their coursework at the close of the fall semester.

In introducing the ceremony, Doug Dunham, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, told graduates that the privilege of a Jesuit college degree carries with it the responsibility to also make the world a better place with it. And, like the Jesuit founder St. Ignatius Loyola, he told the graduates that they should see themselves as on a journey.

“At commencement, a beginning, we celebrate not only what you have accomplished, but we imagine what you will become,” he said.

The student speaker for the ceremony was Marc Kerby, a Master of Education graduate. Kerby evoked the Jesuit core values in his address, specifically mentioning faculty members who embodied each of those values in turn. He acknowledged that he, like perhaps others in the class, had doubts about this day ever arriving. But, he said, he never had to look far to find voices of encouragement, or examples to look to.

“If you want students to do something, you have to model it for them. You have to show them how it’s done,” he said. “And here at Rockhurst, my professors have shown me how it’s done.”